As I was reading about relationships for this weeks sermon, I realized that our lives are so tied up in things, and in anger, fear and other emotions that sometimes we forget what it means to simply live as Christ lived. Remember that while he was on the cross, he forgave those who crucified him. How often do we neglect to forgive those who have hurt us?

In many of our Church services each Sunday we pray the prayer we call the “Lord’s Prayer” and in that prayer we say, “forgive us our trespasses (debts) as we forgive those who trespass (sin) against us.” How about if God actually took us at our word? How about all those who we have become angry at for one thing or another, for a slight that they did to us, have we forgiven them for that hurt? Do we carry that slight with us, and remember it all the time, taking it out of that door in our heart where we keep our hurts, and review it again just so we can keep on hurting?

How about Peter and his question to Jesus, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Matthew 18:21 (ESV) Jesus reply to Peter in verse 22 is “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.”

Think about this, if you refuse to forgive that slight, then you have given that hurt power over you. Every time you remember that this person hurt you, you will again suffer he pain of that slight, yet that person is nowhere to be found, you are using that pain to make sure you never reconcile with that person, and that pain controls your life.  Jesus also said, “if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” (Mat 5:23-24 ESV). Rid yourself of those things that are not of God, they only place a wall between yourself and God, and do you no good. It has been shown that these kinds of things can actually make you ill, because you are harboring a poison in your soul.

Living as Christ lived, forgiving those who hurt us and not allowing them to control us through those hurts and pains, will free us to live in the grace of God, will allow us to love one another as Christ first loved us. Our first relationship is with our God, allowing his love to flow from us to others, means we are living in love instead of fear, anger or hatred. Which way would you rather live?

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